This Scottish whisky tour gives you a comprehensive taste of the range and variety of Scottish single malts with a driving route around the distilleries of the Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside & Islands.
The tour itinerary isn't just about whisky and the driving route features some of the most scenic roads through the Highlands and along the rugged West coast of Scotland.
You could pace this as an 8 day Whisky tour, but if you are not in a hurry and want to follow our day trip ideas, you can adapt the plan for a 2 week tour of Scotland.
Allow a minimum of 8 days to drive this tour route.
The guide contains extra day trip suggestions for extending the tour to 15+ days
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Guide Updated - 20 January 2024
Approximately 571 miles / 920 Km
8 to 15 Days
Explore Edinburgh -
Edinburgh is a compact city and easy to explore on foot. We provide directions for 3 walking routes that show you different sides of the Capital city; a walk down the historical Royal Mile, a riverside path to the Botanic Gardens that escapes the hustle & bustle of city life and a more energetic hike to Arthur’s Seat with the option to continue to a pub with lots of history.
To get into the spirit of your Whisky tour, we steer you to a selection of our favourite traditional Edinburgh pubs where you can drink in the atmosphere and enjoy some good Malts.
The guide also includes options for day trips around the surrounding area by car, bus or train.
The day trips by car take you to West Lothian where you can visit many of the sites used in the filming of “Outlander” and to East Lothian where you can visit some spectacular castle ruins, a whisky distillery, pretty villages and embark on boat trips to Bass Rock.
Stopover in Edinburgh
Edinburgh to Pitlochry -
This route allows you time to spend a full afternoon in the Pitlochry area where there are 3 distilleries to be discovered.
Heading north from Edinburgh, you cross the Forth estuary with views of the famous Forth Rail Bridge. You then speed north to Perth, but can extend the drive with a visit to the pretty village of Falkland with its beautiful palace that was a favourite country retreat of Mary Queen of Scots.
From Perth to Pitlochry, we suggest a quiet back road route that visits Scone Palace, the ancient crowning place of Scottish Kings, and the romantic ruins of Dunkeld Cathedral beside the River Tay.
If you stay in Pitlochry or Aberfeldy, you can park up your car and walk to the nearest distillery to take full advantage of a good whisky tasting session.
Driving Distance ~ 81 miles
Short tours around Pitlochry: If you arrive early in Pitlochry, or wish to stay for several nights, you will enjoy the 2 short tour options supplied in this guide. These tours cover the grand Blair castle as well as less well known places such as a deserted Blackhouse village, a 2000 year old tree and a stone circle that most tourists miss.
Stopover in Pitlochry / Aberfeldy area
Pitlochry to Royal Deeside -
You could start this day with a visit to nearby Blair Castle as the drive to Braemar and Royal Deeside does not take very long. On the way to Braemar, you follow the path of an 18th century military road that was built through Glen Shee to enable the deployment of Redcoat troops into the “Jacobite” heartlands.
After a visit to Braemar, you can continue to explore the quaint villages, verdant woodlands and wild mountains that Queen Victoria fell in love with. Balmoral castle is one of the attractions that you can visit in this area, but there are many more great castles to be discovered in this region.
Of course, this is a whisky tour of Scotland so you can get today's whisky tasting at the Royal Lochnagar distillery that supplies the Royal family during their visits to Balmoral Castle.
Driving Distance ~ 56 miles
Stopover in Royal Deeside area
Royal Deeside to Speyside -
Today you traverse the Cairngorm mountains via one of the highest roads in Scotland. It is not far to drive so you have time to schedule a day exploring the Speyside Whisky Trail.
Some of the famous distilleries on this leg of your Scottish whisky tour are Glenlivet, Glenfarclas, Aberlour, Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Macallan.
If you want a break from whisky tastings, you may enjoy a visit to Elgin with its magnificent cathedral and cashmere mill. We also give you tips on the best bars for continuing your whisky sampling into the evening.
Driving Distance ~ 52 miles
Stopover in Craigellachie / Elgin area
Speyside to Inverness -
You can continue your Scottish whisky tour with visits to the distilleries of Glen Grant, Glen Moray and Benromach, but today's route also features places of historical importance that are worth exploring.
You can discover Cawdor Castle with its curious legends, the spooky burial tombs at Clava Cairns, the imposing defences of Fort George and the windswept battlefield of Culloden Moor.
The day ends in lively Inverness or the quieter villages of the nearby Black Isle. If you visit the Black Isle, we can tell you where to find a bar with over 200 "expressions" of Malt whisky on offer, including some incredibly rare bottlings.
Driving Distance ~ 57 miles
Stopover in Inverness area .
Day Trips from Inverness -
Inverness is a great touring base for exploring the Highlands and we supply you with directions for a range of day trips:
Stopover in Inverness area
Inverness to Skye -
Starting with a drive along the shores of Loch Ness towards Urquhart Castle (where you may wish to join a loch cruise), you then turn westwards to the wilderness of Wester Ross and the mountains of Kintail. The route passes the distinctive Eilean Donan castle on the way to the Skye Bridge, but you may wish to include a detour to see one of Scotland’s prettiest villages before crossing into Skye.
If you need a whisky fix, you could head to Talisker Distillery or the recently opened Torabhaig Distillery, but we recommend you schedule a 2 night stopover on Skye so there is time to do other sightseeing activities on this day.
Driving Distance ~ 115 miles
Stopover on Skye or the nearby Lochalsh area
Day Trips around Skye & Lochalsh -
Skye is a large island with many of the places of interest located along dead end single track roads. As a result, you are limited in how much you can cover in a day and you need to schedule at least a 2 night stopover.
Stopover in Skye & Lochalsh area
Skye to Oban -
Today we guide you down the west coast to the lively town of Oban. We would recommend leaving Skye on the Mallaig ferry, but also provide you with directions for taking an inland route via the Skye bridge.
If taking the Mallaig ferry, you can explore the beautiful “Silver Sands” of the Morar beaches which look quite Tropical on sunny days. You follow the “Road to the Isles” which takes you to Glenfinnan, where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army of Jacobites first rallied in 1745. However, most people come here to see the railway viaduct made famous by “Harry Potter” and you might see the steam train (Apr – Oct). We also guide you to some less obvious film locations.
Both the ferry and bridge routes converge near Glen Coe and you may wish to detour into the glen for a photo stop before starting on the last journey leg down the Argyll coast. This is an area with a rich history and our guide gives details of some of its infamous characters and events.
The day ends in Oban where you can indulge in a whisky tasting session at Oban Distillery followed by a memorable dinner in one of the town’s great choice of seafood restaurants.
Driving Distance ~ 87 miles (plus a ~40 minute ferry crossing) – Mallaig to Oban
Driving Distance ~ 120 miles – Skye Bridge to Oban
Stopover in Oban Area.
Oban to Glasgow / Edinburgh -
We provide 2 route options for the drive back to Glasgow or Edinburgh.
If heading to Glasgow, you travel down the length of Loch Lomond with opportunities for a loch cruise and a visit to a 300 yr old Inn where you might meet aone of the resident ghosts who has a favourite seat in the bar.
Driving Distances: Direct ~90 miles / Via Glen Coe ~118 miles to Glasgow
If returning to Edinburgh, you drive through the Trossachs National Park with opportunities for a photo stop at the Falls of Dochart and / or a visit to the grave of "Rob Roy". You continue back towards Stirling and then join the motorway for a fast drive back to the Capital.
Driving Distances: Direct ~117 miles / Via Glen Coe ~145 miles to Edinburgh
Stopover in Glasgow or Edinburgh.
To help you book the best places to stay, we offer a guide to Recommended Accommodation along the route of this tour.
We personally visit all the accommodation featured in the guides and only select places where we would wish to stay ourselves. Read More...
When you "Checkout", you will have the option to buy the Accommodation Guide.
When you buy a Secret Scotland Tour Itinerary you will receive a Discount Code that gets you a 10% reduction on the cost of Car Hire from Arnold Clark Rental.
Simply use the Secret Scotland code when you book via the Arnold Clark website and your car hire discount will automatically apply.
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